By Edmund Connolly, on 27 June 2013
This blog post comes to you from Prague, waters subsided and tempest abated, although I resemble some sort of muscalid who has been flooded out if its riverside home. Careering on through our Working in Museums series I am going to write about a few job application essentials, namely: the Curriculum Vitae.
Speaking only of museum work, the CV may have appeared to become a tad redundant. Museums and heritage institutions all have arduously long forms to complete, with you inputting your employment dates, history, key skills and usually a chunk of text cirque de 1,000 words long explaining why you want a position, so why do you need a CV at all?
I believe CV’s are a way for you to offer a bullet point ‘reference sheet’ of your training, experience and education. Whenever I edit my CV I think of it as a ‘top trump’ type affair for me. Be direct and to the point, list quantitative amounts, ie I was there for 4 years and did: x, y z. The fancy, qualitative writing should be in the mini essay you write as part of the application. In my CV I like to add all the stuff I feel is useful, albeit generic, such as:
- An active CRB check
- First aid, or similar, training
- Computer program skills, mention if you are comfortable with Apple and Microsoft
- Non job specific languages –ie, if the Job description mentions Arabic as a desirable or essential skill make sure it is also in your main application. In the CV mention that you can do French / German / conversational Icelandic etc., as they are, probably, not essential for the job, but an employer would still be interested to know
- Work skills – these can be specific trainings, team-building days, staff away exercises etc., or I always mention the fact I am a sports captain, so can lead a team, as well as coach, so can encourage and teach.
Your CV really should be personal, so don’t feel everything has to be ‘museumy’, nor should they be too long, 2 sides of A4 is plenty to cover the essentials. Most museums love variety; make sure you make yourself unique in terms of your past experience.
I have 2 parts to my mind: a Corvidaen obsession with colour and shiny stuff and a borderline obsessive enjoyment for headings and colour coding and I marry the two in Technicolor splendour on my CV. Granted, half of this is for my own fun, but it can help an employer trawling through 100+ CV’s quickly see key skills or traits they are looking for.
Your name – always at the top loud and proud, make sure the employer remembers your name. Likewise, when sending your CV in, make sure the document is a PDF (otherwise word will put green and red squiggles all over it) and that it is appropriately titled.
Sub Headings – Don’t overdo it, but I think headings to separate your education, work training, previous employers, awards etc. can just help the whole thing look neater and be easier to skim.
Design elements – Like above, don’t go throw gifs and pictures in, but a layout that is ergonomic and visually striking is showing your computer and digital abilities. These can quite easily be produced using word templates for those of you not so computer literate.
Over and out, and congratulations to everyone for their results!
 I’ll give some advice on filling in these applications in the next blog, due to go live 19th June
 Just open word go: New -> type ‘CV’ in the little search box -> click OK -> select the design you like and populate the fields as you want